Ok…take a deep breath…here we go…
This is my first blog post and although this is a simple recipe, it is really the inspiration for this whole blog.
Let me explain…
Last year was our first Thanksgiving in Sweden and instead of sitting in our tiny apartment in Södermalm, missing family, by ourselves, we decided to invite a few of the Americans we know in the area. Of course, we rushed to the store to find all of the ingredients needed, only to be shocked by the sticker price…including 35sek (almost $4) for one, single can of pumpkin puree! Needless to say, the next time we were home in the U.S. we picked up a few cans to bring back to Sweden (and may have asked Chris’s parents to bring more when they visited in September!).
However, since then I have realized that it is not actually that hard to make your own pumpkin puree. Although produce is generally expensive here, pumpkins went on sale at the ICA by our house for around 10sek (a bit more than $1) per kilogram after Halloween. My husband and I took advantage of this deal to make some pumpkin soup and felt relieved that we now don’t need to ask any future family members to smuggle in canned pumpkin.
Fast forward to this year’s Thanksgiving. I saw these “matpumpor” (literally translates to “food pumpkins”) at ICA and thought they would look perfect as table decorations for the Thanksgiving we were hosting for 17 of our international friends (this year we are lucky to have more friends and more space). I got out the green table runner, candle holder, and put tealights into the many empty jars I’ve been collecting (which Chris always makes fun of me for, but look, I used them!).
We had a wonderful evening, with delicious Thanksgiving food, and it was so fun to share this American holiday with friends from around the world (for many it was not only their first Thanksgiving, but their first time eating turkey EVER).
At one point in the night, someone asked me about the pumpkin decorations on the table. When I mentioned that they not only looked pretty, but that I was planning to eat them after, everyone’s faces looked shocked. “But how do you eat this hard thing?” someone asked. I proceeded to explain how you roast them and then can puree them or use them however you want, but I still got looks of skepticism in return.
So, I realized I should share this recipe for two reasons; (1) Americans living abroad who don’t want to pay an arm and leg for canned pumpkin, and (2) Swedes (or others) who didn’t realize you can eat these pretty pumpkins you see at the store.
So here we are… a simple recipe that inspired a blog.
I should note that I tried to look up whether these were pumpkins or other types of winter squash and I’m still not totally sure… I did learn that pumpkins are a type of squash so I’m sure these will all taste good together, whatever they are, in a soup recipe I will post on the blog soon (!).
I also want to mention that you can add pumpkin pie spice (basically cinnamon/kanel, nutmeg/muskot, ginger/ingefära, and allspice/kryddpepper) to the puree if you’re making a sweeter pumpkin dish (pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, etc). You can also rinse the pumpkin seeds, toss them in olive oil, add spices (1 tsp garlic powder/vitlökspulver, 1 tsp paprika/paprika, 1 tsp salt/salt, 1/2 tsp onion powder/lökpulver, and 1/4 tsp cayenne/cayennespeppar) and roast in the oven at 350°F / 175°C for 10-15 minutes. They make a delicious snack!
And with that, on to the simplest (but most useful) recipe – pumpkin puree!
- 5 pumpkins/matpumpor, around 1 pound/.5kg each
- olive oil/olivolja
- Pre-heat the oven to 350° F / 175° C
- Rinse the pumpkins, cut off the stems, and cut in half
- Scoop out the seeds and goop from the middle of each pumpkin half
- Place the pumpkin halves on a baking tray lined with foil
- Drizzle olive oil over the pumpkins, using your fingers to spread around the inside of each pumpkin half
- Poke the insides of the pumpkin halves with a fork, a few times each
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for 50-60 minutes, or until they feel tender with a fork
- When done, wait for the pumpkins to cool before scraping out the flesh of the pumpkins, leaving a thin layer and the outer skin
- Place the pumpkin flesh in a food processor (or possibly a blender) and pulse for 30 seconds, or until there are no chunks left (if it’s having a hard time processing, you can add a tablespoon of water)
- You can store in a container in the fridge up to a week, or freeze for later!